On Writing- Book Review
Some people might pick up this book and think, hell yeah, why not- who doesn’t want to take a glimpse into a day and a life of famous horror author, Stephen King. And yet, some might think…why read a book on writing? I want a Stephen King book that will scare me.
If you’re in the latter, then you are not a writer.
This book is written in his point of view, his humor, and his memories- he gives us a piece of his personality and it reads almost as if he’s having a conversation with his readers.
I won’t give it all away because it’s his story to tell, not mine. But I will let you in on a tad bit of insight. Not that Mr. King needs any persuading coming from my part- but he is one of my writing heroes and if you’re looking for a book review on this particular book- this is IT (see what I did there?). He makes a point that writing inspiration comes from nowhere. It’s all around us and not anywhere. It’s buried deep within our memories, and it lies in between the lines of our day to day lives. It’s up to us to learn how to make the connection.
In my personal opinion inspiration often hits me in the most inopportune times- like if I’m on the treadmill or elliptical machine, or in the shower- basically in places where I can’t just jump out to write something down. Then I run the risk of forgetting, so sometimes I do it anyway. Especially if it’s flooding in all at once.
So, I have to agree with you there Mr. KIng!
Also, if you’re wanting to pick up the book solely on writing techniques, I will let you in on another spoiler. Right in the very beginning of his book he recommends buying a book for proofreading called “The Elements of Style,” by William Strunk Jr. He calls it the no bullshit handbook to editing. And he’s right. It really is a great to the point manual.
Okay, one more spoiler! I promise this is the last one. I want to mention it because it’s something that I can relate to as a writer and I’m sure you probably can to. My mother also writes and while I was growing up, she always encouraged me to keep writing. She used to edit my work and would always advise me to never to throw anything that I’ve written away, even if I hated it. “Always save your work, you never know if you want to use it later,” she would say. Recently, I’ve heard from a few writers I know that if they feel like their piece of writing isn’t going anywhere, then its dead. And they chuck it.
King confirms my mother’s advice for me when he describes in one of his tales that he had developed an idea for a story, by using two clashing thoughts (won’t get into detail as not to spoil it). He wrote it as a short story and in the end, he didn’t feel like it spoke to him so he threw it away. Little did he know that his wife was going to go through his garbage and read what he had written! When he got home that day, the pages he had tossed had been unscrunched and stacked on top of the table. She told him that she believed he had something there, and to keep at it. So he did.
Thanks to Tabitha King, we can all enjoy the book and movie; Carrie.
This lesson hit me because sometimes I feel like my work is complete garbage. But this story will sit as a reminder to me to never throw them away. Save it for later, work on it with a fresh set of eyes, because one day, it might just be a hit.
On Writing is an insightful tool for writers, but it’s so much more than that. It gives us details into how Stephen King became one of America’s greatest authors of all time. I recommend picking it up and reading it over a weekend. You won’t regret it.